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Lead minds, not hands. L. David Marquet, author of Turn The Ship Around – Love Your Work, Episode 89

September 04 2017 – 07:30am


L. David Marquet (@ldavidmarquet) had spent a year preparing to captain a submarine in the U.S. Navy. But at the last minute, he was assigned to a different submarine.

Not only was it a different ship than the one he had prepared for, it was also the worst ship in its fleet. It was so bad, only three men had reenlisted.

Since David didn’t know the ship, and since the situation was so bad, he had to try something different. Instead of using the leader/follower model, he started using a new leader/leader model. Instead of David giving orders, and instead of his men asking permission, he started empowering each sailor to think for himself.

You may have heard Jason Fried on episode 1 recommend David’s book Turn the Ship Around. In it, David Marquet tells the story of how his leader/leader model turned the USS Santa Fe from worst to first. The year after David took command of the ship, 36 men reenlisted, instead of just 3. In the decade following, 10 of those men would go on to become submarine captains themselves.

David was in Medellín, and I sat down with him to talk about this and more:

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This post is filed under Love Your Work Podcast.